09 May

Social Media is FREE, but it will cost you...

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Social media is free right? Well the platforms are. Facebook and Twitter don’t charge you for their services. So yes, in that aspect, it’s free, but you either have to pay someone through a new hire or existing employee, outsource your social media to a company like Sonix Studio (sonixstudio.com), or use your own time (which is the same as money) to educate yourself and post to these free networks.

It’s not for everybody. The businesses that aren’t utilizing social media are the same people that loathe this type of work. Maybe they don’t see the value in it. If they don’t, they are choosing to ignore the facts. And yes, this is fact. Social Media works, regardless of what business you are in.

Here’s one business example. We manage the outbound marketing for a retail store in my city of Green Bay, WI. Now I’m not a proponent of “push” marketing (occasionally it is OK), but we did post to Twitter about a special my client was offering. A while later I checked back and noticed a follower responded, “ I want that backpack sooo bad!!!”.

Being the marketing genius I am (hold back the laughter please), I responded with,  “it's a great deal right now too!”.

His response, “you're right, I'm getting it.”   We tracked it down to an order from Illinois that also included 3 other items.

Now imagine if we hadn’t posted this to Twitter or responded to his comment? We easily would have lost that order.

The point? It works. You have to use it.

So now that I’ve so influentially convinced you that social media works, let’s get into the details of how much time/money you need to spend to make it work. Now remember social isn’t an immediate return on your investment. The time you spend today will bring in buyers days, months, or even years from now.

Step 1. Create your accounts. It’ll be important to have a good graphical display on your page (on Facebook especially). This is important for branding and building trust. Also understand the rules of a proper Facebook cover. Facebook is pretty lenient as far as enforcing these rules, however you want to stay compliant because they may not be so lenient in the future. https://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php

Step 2. Start building your followers/fans. This takes time to build up. Ask friends and family to help and don’t be obnoxious when asking to build your accounts.

Step 3. Create your content. Good content is important. Write about things that will deeply interest your audience.

Step 4. Develop a posting schedule. This isn’t a regular schedule, just create a list of different times you’ll be posting. I do this at the beginning of every month and I find this helps keep me organized.

Step 5. Check your accounts and interact. As noted in my example above, a non-response to that inquiry may have lost us a direct sale. Responses to people that are talking to you are just as important, if not more, than anything else in your campaign.

Step 6. Research and learn. Make sure you keep up on the latest trends and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Step 7. Read the reports. Track what is going on with your strategy and make adjustments to improve the results.

Step 8. Rinse and repeat (except step 1).

It is imperative that you do all of these on a regular basis (yes, regular means daily). It takes time. As we tell our clients, you can outsource some of these to save you time while having an expert to lean on for advice.   You can outsource as much or little as you want, but not doing anything isn’t an option. Well, it is an option, but not if you want to continue building your brand over the next decade.  

For a small business, you should plan to spend 10-20 hours a week on social media. The bigger you are, the more time you should spend. Larger agencies will have 2-3 full time staffed employees working on their social media strategy. That’s your competition. If you want to win, you need to compete. Good Luck!

Last modified on Friday, 10 May 2013 05:35
Chad VanCalster

Chad VanCalster is a businesss development specialist with Sonix Studio, a web development, design, SEO and hosting firm with offices in Green Bay, Wisconsin and Dallas, Texas. A Computer Science graduate of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Chad started his career consulting for large corporations in the northern Wisconsin region, including Wisconsin Tissue, Georgia Pacific and Schneider National, among others.

Through experiences with marketing within his own company, Chad became a student of Internet Marketing, with a focus on Social Media.  That eventually branched into helping clients with THEIR Social Media Marketing.  Chad is an expert at using social media to expand your credibility and impact in your chosen markets.

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